Having just occur down from the dizzying heights and heritage of Montserrat, it appeared that driving up a mountain was not sufficient, and so we experienced to climb up a person.
Epic Highway Vacation companion and experience blogger Lydia is a little something of a supporter of rock climbing. Some could possibly say ‘fan’ other men and women may possibly say obsessed! Lydia does her best to climb as numerous periods a week as she possibly can, so as she was on this road vacation with me, she was certainly having withdrawal signs and symptoms.
But it just so took place that our future location is one particular of the leading rock climbing incredibly hot-spots on the planet. Siurana, Catalonia. It would be rude not to give the well-liked activity a go in this article. There was only a single smaller dilemma – I’m terrified of heights!
Where by or what is Siurana?
Very first of all, it may well assistance to make clear a minimal bit about wherever we were being, set the tone and present you with some history. Siurana is a blink-and-you are going to-pass up-it village on best of a cliff located in the Cornudella de Montsant municipality.
Positioned just more than two hours and 142 kilometres drive east of Barcelona – you have to know it’s there in any other case you will scoot on straight past it! Its uniquely picturesque place and great geological and meteorological ailments has found it blossom into a focal issue for climbers – a sort of Mecca for these who like to shimmy up sheer rock faces. We ended up blessed sufficient to have the extremely professional and experienced crew at Climbing Siurana to manual us in our undertaking and offer lodging about the course of the expertise. Not that Lydia wanted a guide – but I could use all the help I could get!
Talking of guides
Our chaperones for the day were being partners Dicha and Marten, who relocated here to abide by their enthusiasm for the activity and set up their climbing school and lodging below.
They’re equally expert climbers (which I was significantly satisfied about) and we had been in their risk-free fingers – and their hospitable house – for the length of the encounter.
What is so distinctive about it?
Apart from the stunning setting of Siurana village, the limestone rocks, crags and gorges have been lower away into the landscape over time, so much so that the jagged terrain helps make for the perfect location to climb. There is an remarkable range of routes to be experienced too (estimated to be more than 2000 in reality), for inexperienced persons like me, to far more seasoned professionals like Lydia – and a great deal of difficult ascents that retain climbers from all about the world coming again for additional.
Added to that, the area is a location of astounding all-natural elegance, and who does not want to look at the spectacular colors of a sunset on this semi-arid landscape – specially when you are perched precariously up the side of a cliff?!
Right before I proceed I should share some of my recently obtained information when it will come to rock climbing. For these a lot more acquainted with the sport – you should truly feel no cost to skip this portion (but you are going to be off my Christmas card checklist). There are many rock-climbing grades in the climbing environment – and considerably of it can be really confusing.
On the other hand, we were employing the internationally recognised French process, which is really straightforward and even I could fully grasp it. Grades start at 1 (really simple) and ascend, depending on trouble. A letter is extra for even further depth, for case in point, 4, 4a, 5, 5b, and so on. So, you can get climbs rated 7b and 7c and 3a etcetera, etcetera. Occasionally, a ‘+’ is extra to further boost issues – but I was hoping we weren’t going to be needing that!
If you obtain it a challenge to continue to keep up outside rock climbing day by day because of to a variety of external situations, you can usually retain up the routine and your climbing schooling by employing a moveable hangboard at dwelling.
No turning back!
There arrives a time in a man’s daily life when he genuinely wonders what on earth he’s performing, and walking up to the to start with climb of the day was 1 of all those moments. Not because my bungee bounce in New Zealand had I felt so anxious, with my heart trying to escape my chest and run off down the mountainside – with me in incredibly hot pursuit.
But there was no turning back again – specially because I required to conquer this obstacle and show how a great deal of a courageous boy I am to Lydia – who was now raring to go. We started on a 4a route (appear at me employing the appropriate terminology) and we were off. I just had to hold telling myself – really don’t appear down!
Lydia was on point with the direct climb even though I dipped my toe in the working experience with a major-rope, which implies I’m securely fixed to a rope and I climb up by way of an anchor procedure. When it was all unbelievably secure there was still that irrational concern I was going to drop, and while it was a beginner’s route, we had been continue to ridiculously high up.
The thing is nevertheless – I thrive off this rush, which makes me delight in the working experience even far more. It is an unbelievable feeling pushing your human body and head to its limit – much better than any drug you could consider – and you are going to in no way ignore these times. That is what it’s all about.
Expanding in self-confidence
We continued to climb through the working day, tackling a couple much more routes with different levels of issue. I even managed to do my initial at any time lead-climb, which was a powerful and exhilarating minute. At the very least till I turned paralysed by dread about ¾ of the way up!
If you fall on a guide climb, you’re dropping 1-2 metres in its place of 10 cm on a major-rope – so it’s not to be handled frivolously! I was happy of myself for offering it a shot but gutted I didn’t make it this time. My companions were being quite supportive in the wake of my disappointment – but I’m not performed with you nonetheless, rock! Apparently – I was quite excellent at belaying although! There is hope for me still.
Tall climbing tales
We scaled extra of the limestone crags till sunset when the descending darkness pressured our hands and we turned for home. During our evening meal, we found out far more about the extraordinary life of our hosts. Dicha is from the Netherlands and Marten is from Germany and they fell in appreciate above their mutual enthusiasm for rock climbing – really conference in Siurana some many years in the past. They have a youthful youngster, and they resolved to go back again to this area to begin their climbing university – with each of them now performing as instructors.
Aside from that, they are aiming to make their household entirely self-sustaining, with growing their have make, amassing rainwater for all their desires, building electrical energy with photo voltaic panels and setting up a dry rest room. With Marten inheriting his climbing habit from his father – he was scaling rocks from the age of 5 – they are definitely an inspiring family. We felt more than welcome in their astounding, environmentally helpful dwelling. Oh, and did I notify you about the tasty baked meat-stuffed peppers we ended up served the to start with night? Marten prepared them, and they were being genuine finger-licking superior!
Checking out the Village
With a minor time still left before departure, we explored the precariously positioned village of Siurana. As you can likely tell from the photos – it is in a really unique place! Bus excursions on a regular basis come in to stop by the location – with vacationers only keeping to see the village and not encounter the climbing – but we feel that’s insanity and they’re lacking out!
When the village is quite wonderful – especially in that late early morning sunshine – the true attraction below is the climbing, and it’s certainly an expertise that we will never ever ignore.
Rock and street
The 5th of January arrived all far too before long and we had to bid Marten and Dicha fond farewells. Their Climbing Siurana university definitely has the etramping seal of acceptance – and we’d heartily propose everyone intrigued in climbing to pay out them a pay a visit to.
But the Spanish funds was calling, and the entice of the highway is strong. We wished our hosts the really best in their quest for this kind of an epic, dream life style – a person that they are now properly on the way to fulfilling. Madrid awaits, and you are going to have to tune in up coming time for the continuing adventures of the Epic Street Excursion collection. As for myself, you can guess your base dollar I’m going to be back again in this article one day to beat that rock (7c route)!
Rock climbing was an unbelievable and memorable working experience – explain to us some of your tales of climbing about the entire world!